By Kevin G. Thew Forrester

Beyond My Wants, Beyond My Fears: The Soul’s Journey into the Heartland (2016)

Beyond my wants coverBeyond my Wants, Beyond my Fears: The Soul’s Journey into the Heartland explores how it is we become a person of Being—the slow process of realizing our true nature: God’s very essence. There is no one single way the soul travels into the deep heartland that is Being itself, yet her pilgrimage of realizing the truth of who she is is the Wisdom path itself, the way of being a Christic gem. We are being called home, but this calling is not to some outward sojourn. The calling is an invitation to commence the inner journey of the soul. The calling is a love-song of the heart, which is a harmonic chorus nuanced and enhanced by different times, cultures, and disciplines, intermingling in a continual counterpoint of completely whole, yet mutually enriching, melodic lines. This love-song leaves traces on our heart, like footprints on a path, which run like a golden thread through the history of spiritual seeking.

Beyond my Wants traverses the Wisdom path along the beautiful refrains of the Christian mystic tradition and the Diamond Approach; refrains sounding as Deep calling unto Deep. The stories told are of walking, falling, rising, weeping, dancing, and much more. They are stories of the soul’s journey home into the depth of her heart, becoming a person of Being.

Holding Beauty in My Soul’s Arms: Awakening to At-One-Ment Volume I (2011)

Holding beauty coverHolding Beauty in My Soul’s Arms is a book for many on the journey toward deeper spiritual formation. It offers a resting place where we may pause and savor the riches of scripture, tradition, and reason as well as post-modern psychology, ethics, cultural studies and systems theory…. It is in the doing of theology – reflecting upon our experience and that of wider communities – that we find nurture, insight and guidance toward Christian transformation. –from the Forward by Fredrica Harris Thompsett

Ken Wilber speaks of the great role of religion in helping individuals develop a more inclusive understanding of Spirit. Kevin’s book is a brilliant guide to this end. Drawing on the wisdom of the Enneagram and integrating topics such as theology, spirituality, and psychology, those who seek to grow spiritually will find his work to be a powerful guide. –Terry Saracino, MA, MBA, President Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition

Kevin Thew Forrester mines the subterranean river of Christianity in search of the words with which to understand the modern spiritual journey. He challenges traditional claims, deepens the quest of scripture and points us to new theological and liturgical integrity. Christianity will be richer if these books (Vol. I & II) are widely read. –John Shelby Spong, Author Re-Claiming the Bible in a Non-Religious World

My Heart is a Raging Volcano of Love for You: Awakening to At-One-Ment Volume II (2011)

My heart volcano coverThese liturgical prayers feed my heart and my spirit. Grounded in the theology of baptism, and rooted in the ancient Christian and the Anglican-Episcopal traditions, Forrester’s liturgical texts will appeal to the weary pilgrim and the faithful church-goer, as well as all those seeking a deeper experience of the Beloved. At a time when many are yearning for contemporary expressions of the sacred, this profound and moving book demonstrates that liturgical prayer is intended to be part of a joyful, living, expansive tradition. A valuable resource for faith communities. –Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook, Claremont School of Theology Bloy House, Episcopal School of Theology at Claremont

Kevin is a gifted wordsmith and in ways both subtle and dramatic he brings the liturgy alive in a remarkable and exciting way. For example, Kevin turns his remarkable poetic gifts and theological insights to weaving the weekly scriptural themes into a collective prayer written in such an elegant way that any congregation wanting to sight read the opening prayer in unison may confidently do so. Kevin is thoroughly studied and versed in the early Christian writers. Add to this a commitment to a Trinitarian and sacramental theology. Combine with a literary and poetic gift of rare quality and you have this book you now hold in your hands. –Tom Ray, IX Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan

Dr. Thew Forrester’s prayers, liturgies, and blessings are evocative and beautifully written. They use expansive language for God, plumb the breadth and depth of cosmic wisdom, and draw from both the mystics and revolutionary teachers. This book is a blessing for the Church and shows how to worship and pray based on the model of mutual ministries. I highly recommend it. –Kwok Pui-lan, William F. Cole Professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

I Have Called You Friends: An Invitation to Ministry (2003)

Called you friends coverI do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my father. –John 15:15

These words of Jesus to his disciples teach that the mutuality of friendship is at the heart of a Christian community. When baptized into that community, we accept this mutuality and desire to serve others. Kevin Thew Forrester says, “We can go so far as to say that to be a member of the community entails being a minister. . . Baptism and ministry are two sides of the same coin.” This ministry is the responsibility of all baptized members of the church not merely the ordained.

Drawing on experiences of the people in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, the author challenges the whole church to seek this mutual ministry as the key to its future health and mission.


By Other Authors

A.H. Almaas. Essence with The Elixir of Enlightenment: The Diamond Approach to Inner Realization

Essence has been combined with The Elixir of Enlightenment, a short introductory text directed toward students on the path who are frustrated by either the spiritual or psychological barriers that Western life can present. Discusses the values and shortcomings of spiritual training, and explores why an impasse may occur. Reveals how a precise understanding of your own personality can free your inner resources so that your essential being can lead you toward enlightenment. (Amazon)

A.H. Almaas. Elements of the Real in Man (Diamond Heart, Book 1)

This five-volume series presents a collection of talks given by Almaas on topics such as faith, commitment, nobility and suffering, truth and compassion, allowing, and growing up. Through these talks, Almaas offers valuable guidance and advice for those on a spiritual path, and he explores the challenges and psychological barriers faced by those seeking self-realization. (Amazon)

A.H. Almaas. Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas

Facets of Unity presents the Enneagram of Holy Ideas as a crystal clear window on the true reality experienced in enlightened consciousness. Here we are not directed toward the psychological types but the higher spiritual realities they reflect. We discover how the disconnection from each Holy Idea leads to the development of its corresponding fixation, thus recognizing each types deeper psychological core. Understanding this core brings each Holy Idea within reach, so its spiritual perspective can serve as a key for unlocking the fixation and freeing us from its limitations. (Amazon)

A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson. The Power of Divine Eros: The Illuminating Force of Love in Everyday Life

An innovative spiritual teacher shows how to use desire and passion as a gateway to realizing our full potential.

What do desire and passion have to do with the spiritual life? They are an essential component of it, according to A. H. Almaas and Karen Johnson. Most spiritual teachings take the position that desire, wanting, and passion are opposed to the spiritual path. The concern is that engaging in desire will take you more into the world, into the mundane, into the physical, and into egoic life. And for most people, that is exactly what happens. We naturally tend to experience wanting in a self-centered way. The Power of Passion explores how to be passionate and to feel a strong wanting without that desire being in conflict with selfless love. It also shows how relationships with others are an important part of the human journey–an opportunity to express oneself authentically and be present with someone else. Through understanding the energy of eros, each of us can learn to be fully real and alive in all our interactions. (Amazon)

Sandra Maitri. The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul

A groundbreaking exploration of the spiritual dimension of working with the enneagram by one of its earliest students and teachers in America.

Here is one of the first books to explore in an authentic and comprehensive way the original spiritual dimension of the enneagram. Among the most knowledgeable teachers of the enneagram in America, Sandra Maitri shows how the enneagram not only reveals our personalities, but illuminates a basic essence within each of us. She shows how traversing the inner territory particular to our ennea-type can bring us profound fulfillment and meaning, as well as authentic spiritual development. (Amazon)

Byron Brown. Soul without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within

Whether we call it the inner critic, superego, or just plain nag, most of us have a “judge within” who’s constantly on our case. A comprehensive guide to understanding how the inner critic works, this book offers practical, positive suggestions for breaking free of it. Using straightforward language and examples from everyday life, Byron Brown shows:

• Where the inner judge came from
• How it operates
• Why it trips us up
• Why we believe we need it
• How to develop awareness of it
• How to disengage from it
• The “soul qualities” we can develop to weaken its influence
Each chapter begins with an episode of the “Frank and Sue story,” dramatically illustrating how the inner critic works; each chapter ends with a simple exercise designed to help the reader move along the path of self-discovery. (Amazon)

Robert Karen. Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

The struggle to understand the infant-parent bond ranks as one of the great quests of modern psychology, one that touches us deeply because it holds so many clues to how we become who we are. How are our personalities formed? How do our early struggles with our parents reappear in the way we relate to others as adults? Why do we repeat with our own children–seemingly against our will–the very behaviors we most disliked about our parents? In Becoming Attached, psychologist and noted journalist Robert Karen offers fresh insight into some of the most fundamental and fascinating questions of emotional life.
Karen begins by tracing the history of attachment theory through the controversial work of John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, and Mary Ainsworth, an American developmental psychologist, who together launched a revolution in child psychology. Karen tells about their personal and professional struggles, their groundbreaking discoveries, and the recent flowering of attachment theory research in universities all over the world, making it one of the century’s most enduring ideas in developmental psychology.
In a world of working parents and makeshift day care, the need to assess the impact of parenting styles and the bond between child and caregiver is more urgent than ever. Karen addresses such issues as: What do children need to feel that the world is a positive place and that they have value? Is day care harmful for children under one year? What experiences in infancy will enable a person to develop healthy relationships as an adult?, and he demonstrates how different approaches to mothering are associated with specific infant behaviors, such as clinginess, avoidance, or secure exploration. He shows how these patterns become ingrained and how they reveal themselves at age two, in the preschool years, in middle childhood, and in adulthood. And, with thought-provoking insights, he gives us a new understanding of how negative patterns and insecure attachment can be changed and resolved throughout a person’s life.
The infant is in many ways a great mystery to us. Every one of us has been one; many of us have lived with or raised them. Becoming Attached is not just a voyage of discovery in child emotional development and its pertinence to adult life but a voyage of personal discovery as well, for it is impossible to read this book without reflecting on one’s own life as a child, a parent, and an intimate partner in love or marriage. (Amazon)

Gabor Maté, MD. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Based on Gabor Mate’s two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver’s skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Mate presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout (and perhaps underpins) our society; not a medical “condition” distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs (and behaviors) of addiction. Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead promoting a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts argues persuasively against contemporary health, social, and criminal justice policies toward addiction and those impacted by it. The mix of personal stories—including the author’s candid discussion of his own “high-status” addictive tendencies—and science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals. (Amazon)

Peter A. Levine. In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

**Unraveling Trauma in the Body, Brain and Mind—a Revolution in Treatment**

In this culmination of his life’s work, Peter A. Levine draws on his broad experience as a clinician, a student of comparative brain research, a stress scientist and a keen observer of the naturalistic animal world to explain the nature and transformation of trauma in the body, brain and psyche. In an Unspoken Voice is based on the idea that trauma is neither a disease nor a disorder, but rather an injury caused by fright, helplessness and loss that can be healed by engaging our innate capacity to self-regulate high states of arousal and intense emotions. Enriched with a coherent theoretical framework and compelling case examples, the book elegantly blends the latest findings in biology, neuroscience and body-oriented psychotherapy to show that when we bring together animal instinct and reason, we can become more whole human beings. (Amazon)

Cynthia Bourgeault. The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart

“Drawing on resources as diverse as Sufism, Benedictine Monasticism, the Gurdjieff Work, and the string theory of modern physics, Cynthia Bourgeault has crafted her own unique vision of the Wisdom way in this very accessible book, nicely balanced between concept and practice.”
—Gerald May, senior fellow, Shalem Institute, and author, Addiction and Grace and Will and Spirit
“The spiritual wisdom and practical suggestions in this lively and beautiful book will be helpful to many who find themselves setting out on the interior journey.”
—Bruno Barnhart, a Camaldolese monk and author, Second Simplicity: The Inner Shape of Christianity
“Cynthia Bourgeault’s book is a valuable contribution to the much-needed reawakening of spiritual practice within a Christian context. Her sincerity, good sense, metaphysical depth, and broad experience make her a source to be trusted.”
—Kabir Helminski, Sufi Shaikh, the Threshold Society

Jalal al-Din Rumi and Coleman Barks. The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition

This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and more than 80 never-before-published poems.
Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi more popular than ever.
The Essential Rumi continues to be the bestselling of all Rumi books, and the definitive selection of his beautiful, mystical poetry. (Amazon)

Hafiz and Daniel Ladinsky. The Gift

Chosen by author Elizabeth Gilbert as one of her ten favorite books, Daniel Ladinsky’s extraordinary renderings of 250 unforgettable lyrical poems by Hafiz, one of the greatest Sufi poets of all time

More than any other Persian poet—even Rumi—Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the “Invisible Tongue.” Indeed, Daniel Ladinsky has said that his work with Hafiz is an attempt to do the impossible: to render Light into words—to make the Luminous Resonance of God tangible to our finite senses. (Amazon)

Debby Irving. Waking Up White, And Finding Myself in the Story of Race

For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn’t understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one “aha!” moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us. (Amazon)

Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker.  Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire

One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2008

During their first millennium, Christians filled their sanctuaries with images of Christ as a living presence-as a shepherd, teacher, healer, or an enthroned god. He is serene and surrounded by lush scenes, depictions of this world as paradise. Yet once he appeared as crucified, dying was virtually all Jesus seemed able to do, and paradise disappeared from the earth. Saving Paradise turns a fascinating new lens on Christianity, from its first centuries to the present day, asking how its early vision of beauty evolved into a vision of torture, and what changes in society and theology marked that evolution. It also retrieves, for today, a life-affirming Christianity that the world sorely needs. (Amazon)